Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia

Scientific Name: Onobrychis viciifolia (Fabaceae). The name means something like 'vetch leaf that makes donkeys bray ' (with excitement, as they love to eat it).

English Name: Sainfoin (Pea family).

French Name: Le Sainfoin cultivé (='cultivated sound/healthy hay'); l'Esparcette cultivée (='scattered about cultivated'); l'Esparcette de feuilles de vesce (='scattered vetch leaves').

5 Key Characters:
  • papery stipules (the bracts at the base of the leaf stalks).
  • conical spikes of salmon pink flowers with red veins.
  • 20 - 40 cm high.
  • leaflets in 6 - 12 pairs.
  • flower stalks longer than leaves.
Lookalikes: None -- nothing else has salmon pink flowers.

Habitat: Roadsides and calcareous grassland.

Flowering Period: June-July-August.

Status: Once cultivated for fodder. Locally common.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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